Ever Spotted The Floral Courtyard At This Covent Garden Restaurant?

La Goccia set dinner menu ★★★★☆

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Ever Spotted The Floral Courtyard At This Covent Garden Restaurant? La Goccia set dinner menu 4

Hot damn, La Goccia's pretty.

The website describes the Covent Garden spot as the signature and 'iconic romanticism' of Petersham Nurseries, but with an added Italian accent. And on-message, the courtyard is a mass of wrought iron, terracotta pots, flower-trailing vines and so much greenery it actually feels secluded, despite being just off one of the most popular tourist spots in London.

In truth, it's hard to spot a particularly Italian thread to the La Goccia set menu. The odd plate of arancini, drizzle of Amalfi lemon or Maremma blue cheese garnish aside, it feels British above anything else.

The menu changes regularly, often daily. A look through previous versions throws up a nicely surprising number of offal-y dishes, rare to find on a set menu, often geared towards low-challenge crowd-pleasers. And if any dish could convert an offal-denier, it might be our pig heart and garlic scapes, one of a fixed selection of cicchetti/starters, all delicate slivers of intense richness.

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Hero dish from among the starters, though, is our simple-ish plate of beetroot and walnut salad, dressed with shavings of Blu del Granduca. Unflamboyant and lovely in its own right, it helps that the blue cheese comes with the sharpness the other opening acts are missing — the radishes with herb butter and courgette arancini are vivid on the plate but mild on seasoning.

On the flip side, the mains — plaice with fennel and Amalfi lemon, and thick, softly fatty slabs of pork with turnips and mustard — are both powerful, nearly too-powerful, punches of salt. But the pork, scattered with little, crispy pieces of fried sage, is a powerhouse, the melting fatty layers on the meat punctuated with the crunch and woodiness of the sage leaves. Both plates, as with the starters, are generous; the La Goccia set menu delivers a very Italian amount of dinner.

It's easy to be enchanted by La Goccia's location, and its way with a trailing vine or a well-placed lantern. The prices are going to be harder to swallow: while the set menu's good — intermittently great — pushing £40 for three courses, with the final one a lovely but relatively demure pair of ice-cream/sorbet options, and no white at under £30 a bottle, is a tougher sell.

The starlit, flower-strewn setting and the lovingly-sourced ingredients would be enough to keep La Goccia's courtyard packed out with date nights and anniversaries and family celebrations and graduations and proposals. The price points mean that it's probably one best saved for those milestone occasions.

La Goccia
at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden,
1 Floral Court, WC2E 9FB. The set dinner menu at La Goccia is available from 5-9 pm on Monday-Saturday and is £38 for three courses.

Last Updated 22 July 2019